Learn These Chords and Scales on Guitar First

What is a scale and a chord anyway?

Note: This blog is best used with the Fret Zealot app on your mobile device.

The truth is playing guitar is all about knowing patterns and chord shapes. So before you get overwhelmed by the C Chord, G Chord, and E chord, and barre chords, remember, the basic chord shapes you learn can be applied up and down the fretboard, and the scales can be applied the same way.


All of these scales and chords are in the Fret Zealot app. Go to the app to see them. Then use the Fret Zealot and app together to practice them!

Start with the chords and the Pentatonic Scale patterns listed below.

Chords

Go to the Fret Zealot app to see these chords and use the Fret Zealot to learn them!

A chord is a group of notes played at the same time.

The first major chords you should learn on guitar are: C , A , G ,  E , D

VIDEO TUTORIAL:
You can follow along with Justin if you like. Here is his review of the G and C chord technique.  
https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/beginner-3-g-c-technique

For the Fret Zealot enabled version of these lessons, in the Fret Zealot app, go to “Lessons” -> “Justin Guitar” -> “Beginner”-> “Beginners Course” -> “Stage 3”

 

The first minor chords to learn are: Am, Em, Dm

VIDEO TUTORIAL:
Watch Justin’s quick lesson here:
https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/the-amin-chord-bc-121

“Lessons” -> “Justin Guitar” -> “Beginner”-> “Beginners Course” -> “Stage 2” in the app.


Most of these minor chords simply remove a note from your major chord shapes, which makes them easier to learn.
Am is also the relative minor scale for C major scale, and Em is the relative minor for the G major scale. Dm is it the relative minor for F major.

These are shapes you can use along the fretboard as you progress.
They also can be used with the first pentatonic scales you learn.

Don’t give up! You have to build the strength in your hands and fingers to get the chords down. Only practicing regularly will help you do this. Practice often, even if it is only for 15 minutes at a time. Practically speaking, you will not build that strength if you only practice 15 minutes, and then you wait a week to practice again. So keep it up, and jam on!

Pentatonic Scales

A scale is a series of musical notes ordered together by pitch or sound frequency.
(There are many scales. Stay tuned for more on scales in the future.)

Pentatonic scales are 5 note scales.

There are major and minor Pentatonic patterns.


Pentatonic Scales are essentially just short scales based on the diatonic scale and are commonly used. You may be surprised how many players only use these with popular tunes.

Major Pentatonic Scales are 1 – 2- 3- 5 – 6  notes of the Major Scale.
C Major:  C – D – E – G – A

Video Tutorial:
Follow along with Justin to learn the pattern for the Major Pentatonic Scale.
https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/major-pentatonic-scale-im-153


Minor Pentatonic Scales are 1 -3b – 4 – 5 – 7b
(This is from the Major Scale. Do not flatten the notes of the existing natural minor scale.)
Ex: A minor Pentatonic – A – C – D – E – G

Video Tutorial:

Learn 5 Pentatonic Minor Scale Patterns with Justin here:
https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/minor-pentatonic-the-5-patterns-sc-304

 

Take your time. Use the Fret Zealot app in sync with the Fret Zealot on your guitar. The Fret Zealot is designed to help you see what you are playing on the guitar, and practice. Our latest features allow you to loop your own practice routines as well.


Find some songs you like, and start applying the chords and scales you have learned. Remember, a song can be available in any key you want. You don’t have to learn it in the original band or album key. Find a transposed version, or simply use a Capo.

Many, many, many, many, many songs only have three chords and simple pentatonic scale guitar riffs. So, get jamming!  If you have a suggestion for a song, please send it to us here

Tune Your Guitar like a Rockstar

When you first pick up a guitar, you learn standard E tuning. The chords are built off of this tuning, and so are the scale patterns. Standard guitar tuning is E – A – D – G – B – E tuned to a frequency of 440Hz. The first string is the bottom string and tuned to E. After jamming on some popular tunes, it’s fun to explore the broad soundscape the guitar can offer.

Dropped tunings are used a lot in popular rock and heavy rock music, while slide guitarists use open tunings frequently. If you intend to drop to lower tunings, you may need heavier gauge strings to prevent them from being too loose to play.  All the strings need to be tuned to the same frequency, which is typically 440Hz. If they are not all the same frequency, the chordal ring will sound dissonant, even if the notes are tonally accurate and in tune.

The Fret Zealot app has over 50 tunings and many songs to accompany them, with literally thousands of new song uploads monthly. Here are a few popular alternate tunings to get you started. All the tunings listed below are from the top string down, in 6 5 4 3 2 1 order. Remember the high, thinnest string on the bottom when holding a right-handed guitar is considered string 1.

1. Drop D (or C) Tuning – D A D G B E
Tune the 6th string down to D or C and keep the rest at standard tuning.

Alternative rock music and metal music often incorporates Drop D tuning, including songs by Metallica, KORN, Soundgarden, and so many others. It adds a bassy bottom end to standard tuning chords and progressions. All the formations stay the same. Just remember to omit the D string when D isn’t in the chord or in the key progression. For example: Don’t play the low D when you play a standard C chord. You shouldn’t be doing this in standard tuning either, but if D is included in a standard C chord, with the major triad, it will create dissonance because it is the second note in the C major scale.

Watch how to tune Double Drop D Tuning here.

2. C6 Tuning – C A C G C E
Tune the 6th and 4th strings down, and tune the 2nd string up.

This open tuning adds the sixth note of the scale right in the tuning.  The C Major Scale is C D E F G A B, without sharps and flats. A is the sixth in the scale, G is the fifth, and E is the third. The three C’s add a chorus of octave support rounding out the sound. World famous rock bands Led Zeppelin and Mumford & Sons have used this tuning for some of their most  popular hits, like “I Will Wait.” Check out this video with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in a live performance of “Friends” using this tuning. That guitar rings out setting the tone for this unique tune. You can hear how loose the C string is on the original Led Zeppelin III album recording.

 

3. Drop C Tuning – C G C F A D
Tune every string down.

Drop C is popular in hard rock and many genres metal and prog metal music as it adds that heavy low end. Drop C is also great for power chords. You can use this guide for chords.

4. Open G Tuning – D G D G B D

Tune the 1st, 5th, and 6th strings down.

Slide guitarists typically play in open tunings because the key major triad is already in the tuning, which makes it easier to build other chords. In Open G tuning, all of the strings are tuned to the major triad notes: G, B, and D.Here are some chords for Open G Tuning. The chords and formations on strings 2, 3, and 4 are the same as standard tuning.

Video on how to tune Open G here.

5. Open D Tuning – D A D F# A D
Tune your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th strings down for Open D.

This is a major chord tuning used frequently by classic blues guitarists. The major triad chord is D – F# – A.

6. Open E Tuning – E B E G# B E
Tune the 3rd, 4th and 5th the strings UP.

The major triad notes are E – G# – B. Justin suggests you capo the second fret in Open D tuning as an easier alternative.

Video on how to tune Open E here.

 

There are a lot more tunings, including modal tunings, perfect fourths tunings, augmented fourth tunings, and on and on and on. Remember, if you are playing out at an open mic or jam, the more unique your tuning is, the harder it will be for other players to jump in and jam with you. Dropped tunings and open tunings are easier to adjust to if you are going to bring your new tunings out to play!

So head to the Fret Zealot app, tune up, tune down and learn some new songs. If you have a suggestion for a song, please send it to us here

6 DIY Hacks to Customize Fret Zealot for Your Guitar

All Fret Zealots are innovators. Just by nature of picking FZ, you stand out. Now, you can borrow some of the ideas below to further customize and enhance your style.

  1. Use a Longer Audio Cable
    Don’t let the cable length inhibit you. You can practice with the pack unattached to your guitar, or simply broaden the opportunities for where you want to attach the pack to your instrument. Make sure the cable has a 4-conductor audio jack and can extend the cord to the battery pack.

  2. Flip the battery pack
    It is that easy, and very useful tip for left handed guitar players. The pack will function just as well in any of the following positions.

  3. Different Placements
    This is a particularly simple one, there are different parts of the guitar head that your Fret Zealot might clip onto like so:
  4. Connect FZ to The Head Stock with Velcro Tape
    The capo clip lets the battery pack work on any head stock, but that’s just it- there are SO many different types of head stocks! It holds up really well, and has a great grip on the instrument that doesn’t damage the guitar. But, maybe you are an active performer or player, and need a sleeker way to keep it on. Velcro Tape is a good solution that gives you more choices in where to place the the pack on your guitar.

  5. Place the Fret Zealot Strip Closer to the Body of the Guitar 
    With this hack, you place the Fret Zealot strip closer to the body of the guitar within the fret space. Original installation suggests you place the strip on the opposite side of the fret, closer to the headstock.

    Using this trick, you will place your finger in the right space, and can see the Fret Zealot as well. It depends on the person. Some people prefer it with the original installation. Others prefer it in the space where they can see the strip and place their finger closer to the fret.

    Here is a bass with a FZ with the LEDs on the bottom side of the frets instead of the top side (headstock side).

  6. Interact with The App & The Software
    The App is designed to suit YOUR needs as a new player. We are constantly partnering with other apps, like Guitar 3D and Uberchord, and uploading new songs to offer you more within the app. That being said, if you search 50 songs, you may have to search again to find the tenth one you liked. So take note of the following:
    A) Mark the ones you want to keep working on as favorites, and rank the version you prefer.
    B) Star your favorite chords in the app.

There are always ways to solve a simple issue. Don’t let solvable problems get in the way of your success. Fret Zealot truly has a lot to offer any player. Let us know what your DIY hacks are, and maybe we can share them with others.

 

 

5 Ways Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Play Guitar

You want to make 2019 better than 2018, at least you want to play guitar better by the end of it. Fret Zealot is a great start to that, and you will play new scales, new chords, and new songs, provided you pick up the guitar and play it. The days are long, and a lot of extraneous circumstances can dampen the fire to play, and time slips by. Before you know it, it will be 2020 and you aren’t doing what you set out to do in 2019. You will see how these tips will all work together to help you maintain creativity.

1) Set Realistic Goals and Realistic Expectations.  
This is something we have mentioned before in our free download to get started playing your instrument. It is imperative to do this, so you do not burn out and lose confidence. Set realistic time for practicing, and set goals for what you want to accomplish on the guitar. This can change as you get familiar with the guitar, and establish a routine. Ask yourself the following questions: Which scales do you want to learn by the end of the year? How many songs a month do you want to learn? How long can you really practice in a session, and how many days a week?

Fret Zealot absolutely will help you play quickly, and learn quickly. BUT, you do have to play to learn and play regularly to improve. Obviously, the more time you put into this, the better you will become. Don’t expect to be Jimi Hendrix overnight, but maybe you will play the lead solo from “Hey Joe” within a few months, or sooner! If your job keeps you busy 40 to 50 hours a week, if you have children, and family obligations, expecting to practice hours each day is not realistic. Amidst the stress, 30 minutes is worth it, and good for you. Do more if you can, and if you only have 10 minutes another day, that is, too.

2) Practice Regularly & Mark it Down.
So you can practice a few times a week for 20-30 minutes? Great! Get a calendar, pick the days each week, and write it down in ink. This is a tip that works with all goal setting. You have likely seen it before. Learning to do anything requires discipline. Marking it down will help you visualize your success. You can also set a repeating calendar “event” digitally (e.g. Google Calendars or another phone’s calendar app) to remind yourself.

3) Seek fresh inspiration.
This can be difficult to do. You may grow tired of listening to the same solos by the same heroes. Listen to new ones, and new music. There is a lot of music you won’t hear on the radio, so search YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and BandCamp. Spotify helps do this with their “Discover Weekly” and “Made for You” automatic playlists. Go to a local live music performance with an open mind. We’re huge fans of SOFAR Sounds! They have secret gigs all over the world. Listen to artists around you exercising their creativity. No, it may not be as well polished as what you are used to, but you may actually enjoy it more.

4) Jam with other musicians.
This is really important to growing your ability to play. It will improve your ear, and grow your confidence. You may even be inspired. Go to an open mic, sing a song you learned. Go to a jam and sit in. Work up to it if you have to. Go and listen a few times, then sign up to play. Ask someone to show you the ropes if you want. The music community around you will keep you inspired and give you tips that helped them succeed.

5)  Exercise Creativity and HAVE FUN!

As you learn new skills, don’t be afraid to jam, write songs, and carve out riffs. There is no wrong way. You will improve your skills doing this, and could even help you escape the stress of life while you do. One our favorite pastimes is noodling around on a new Scale on Fret Zealot (hit any light and it sounds good!)

Have fun! That is what music is for. If you aren’t having fun, why are you doing it?

As with many things, growth ebbs and flows. Sometimes you will lean into the discipline of a realistic practice routine, other times you will lean into a new song, or maybe even writing your own songs. If you keep it up, music and guitar playing all become a way of life. You will discover a routine and practice method that works well for you, and you may be inspired to share your discovery with friends.

We upload new lessons and new songs to our Fret Zealot app often. Our goal is to upload new content weekly and let you know on our social media channels. We have partner apps like Guitar 3D and Uberchord to help you stay inspired as well. We post other guitar videos to inspire you on our social channels as well. Our goal is to keep you playing. So stay tuned, and get jammin’!


You can view the online store here. We even have guitars with Fret Zealot already installed. See them here.  Fret Zealot is also available at Guitar Center and Fry’s Electronics stores.

 

 

Fret Zealot is Great for Kids

Some amazing things come in threes, like The French Hens, The Stooges, and of course, the core of the BLT sandwich with 3 main ingredients: bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Some great music groups come in threes, too – like The Supremes, The Dixie Chicks, and…Hanson? Destiny’s Child? Ok. Maybe not. Nirvana, though. That’s a legendary trio.

Threes are popular because it is easy to teach, learn and retain concepts and/or major points. This is true for all ages, and something to remember when learning guitar. You may be looking for a way to encourage your child’s interest in playing guitar and playing music, but aren’t sure the best way to do it. Fret Zealot is absolutely a cost effective way to do that, and there are other reasons Fret Zealot is Worth the Wrapping Paper. But, it’s more than that. Fret Zealot truly is a great learning tool for children. Here are 3 reasons why.

1) Fret Zealot engages the audio and visual side of learning.
People learn in different ways. Some are visual learners. Some are auditory learners. Some learn both, and most learn with hands on experience. Some remember and learn by what they’ve seen, others are better at remember what they’ve heard. Some people actually commit things to memory by sight, and many of us commit things to memory by consistent repetition.

Fret Zealot engages it all offering a hands on approach engaging the audio (music training) and the visual (with lights) and applies that to playing the guitar or bass. Fret Zealot’s dynamic toolset is part of what makes it so effective. Players can SEE the chords, hear them as they play, and practice as much as they need to. And, some studies indicate the lights may actually help stimulate the visual memory.

The app will work to show you how to play the chords and scales correctly, and let you know when you don’t play it correctly. This is a great technique builder because developing good technique while practicing alone can be a challenge. You may not realize your hand isn’t in the right place for that scale unless a “teacher” points it out. And, most of us don’t have a teacher sitting with us while we practice. But, Fret Zealot helps fix that.

2) Fret Zealot is versatile and easy to use.
Fret Zealot can fit almost any guitar. We say almost only because while there isn’t a guitar we’ve put it on that it doesn’t fit, obviously, there are guitars out there we haven’t tried it on yet. But, if the guitar has a standard neck, 24.75” or 25” neck, the FZ strip should work and goes on easily. This is true for smaller three quarter and half sized guitars as well, as long as they have one of these standard neck lengths.

The FZ strip can be installed very easily and the strip syncs quickly with the app. See the video on installing the strip here. Download the app on your phone, tablet, or computer for free at any time.

Once the strip is installed and the app downloaded – start exploring. Anyone can learn chords, practice playing songs they love at their own pace, learn scales at a tempo they can play to, take free video lessons, and experiment with the instrument in creative ways. Before you know it, you could be rippin’ solos over your favorite songs.

3) The Fret Zealot app has a LOT of resources for the beginning to advanced player.
Fret Zealot was designed to make learning to play guitar fun, easy, and DOABLE. That is why the the app has 52 tunings,every chord, every scale, 35,000 plus songs, tempo adjustments, video lessons, and integration with OTHER apps like Guitar 3D. (See a video on how to use Guitar 3D and Fret Zealot here.) Yes, there is more, and we work to add more resources to inspire players every day. There is something in the app for every one, no matter the skill level.

The app gives children a personal opportunity to learn and practice music they want to play comfortably at their own speed, and even experiment. They don’t have to wait to learn something at the next lesson or get stuck in paper books with images and words that can seem jumbled on a page. They have the freedom to grow and become their own musician.

So, there you have it: Three simple reasons Fret Zealot is not only worth the wrapping paper, but a versatile learning tool for children who want to play guitar. You can’t go wrong with this. You can view the online store here. We even have guitars with Fret Zealot already installed. See them here.  Fret Zealot is also available at Guitar Center and Fry’s Electronics stores.

 

 

5 Reasons Fret Zealot is Worth the Wrapping Paper

Since its release into the world, Fret Zealot receives a lot of reviews. Why?
Because shiny lights, sure, but also- it works. This is new LED tech is designed so anyone and everyone can learn to play the guitar – so you can play, so your kids can play, so your 90 year old grandpa can play if he wants.

We compiled a short  a list of reasons to start jamming with the FZ, and why you probably should wrap one up for Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or Three Kings Day, or Boxing Day or .. well, any holiday you recognize. MUSIC is an amazing gift.

1) Fret Zealot is cost effective
Individual music lessons can run between $100 and $200 a month, and that doesn’t include the start up costs with registration, books, tuners, and other required materials. When all is said and done, Fret Zealot is cheaper than guitar lessons in the long-run.

2) The Fret Zealot App has ALL you need to start playing
EVERYTHING is in the app – a tuner with 52 tunings, every chord, every scale, and a constantly increasing library with tens of thousands of songs in all genres. Start at your own pace, and challenge yourself at your own pace. There are two other guitar learning apps that support Fret Zealot: Uberchord (iOS only) or Guitar 3D (iOS and Android)

3) Fret Zealot is versatile
Fret Zealot is compatible with all full size guitar models and can be installed easily on guitar neck scale lengths between 24.75” to 25.5”. You can also look for a guitar on our site which already has the Fret Zealot installed, like this Epiphone Acoustic. There is a bass guitar version, as well.

4) Anyone Can Learn with Fret Zealot
If you can hold the guitar comfortably, you can play along with Fret Zealot, no matter your age. The app is personal, all inclusive and easy to use. The lights make it easy to follow the scales, play chords, and follow song chord progressions, especially with the video lessons tailored for first time players. No one is watching you play, and you don’t have to report to a teacher. It is designed so everyone can learn, and have FUN playing songs you want to play.  

5) Fret Zealot is FUN
Fret Zealot LED strips light up! This is neat on stage and makes for an interactive and engaging learning experience or jam session. You will find yourself actually enjoy practicing and playing. (Not to mention it is festive and it fits in a stocking!)

Be motivated!
There are a lot of reasons people stop playing guitar, but Fret Zealot makes learning guitar fun as you learn and improve.

Also…
Fret Zealot is now available at Guitar Center just in time for the holidays! You can stop by there or a Fry’s Electronics and try one out for yourself.

 

Whether you are thinking about the gift of music for yourself or a loved one, Fret Zealot will not disappoint. Check out FretZealot.com to learn more. Sign up for our newsletter to receive tips for playing, industry news, and other fun exclusives.

Know Your Guitar and Play It Well

It is critical to understand your guitar, to know the instrument’s body, and how it works from the inside out. It helps you become a better player and helps you use the instrument correctly. It is just as important to practice efficiently and with proper technique.

For these reasons, and because we want you to be the rock star you know you can be, we compiled our first free downloadable Beginner’s Guide which highlights some examples of tools and resources from our free app and other more general resources.

Fret Zealot App includes the following all for free:

  • Video Tutorials
  • Scales (ALL of them)
  • Chords (ALL of them)
  • Songs (tens of thousands)
  • A tuner and varying accompaniment tunings (57 different ones!)

This Beginner’s Guide includes the following:

  • An overview of the guitar body, from headstock to strap.
  • Proper Technique – Learn how to properly hold the guitar, which affects fretting, dexterity, accuracy, and all styles of playing.
  • How to Tune Your Guitar.
    Look, you have to tune your guitar, and you have to tune it accurately every time you play so you can develop an accurate ear for the pitch and scales. Use the free tuner in the Fret Zealot app and the app will immediately adjust the included tutorials, scales, and chord progression to the tuning you choose.
  • Practical Practice Tips to get started. (Hint: Play what you actually like.)

Remember, you can play, and you can love practicing the guitar with the Fret Zealot. Set reasonable practice goals, and you will be surprised at how quickly you learn.

Download our free Beginner’s Guide below.

Beginner's Guide

Wait, what? You don’t have a Fret Zealot yet? Order the 24.75 inch or 25.5 inch model for your guitar today . Pre-installed guitar kits are available as well!

Learning Guitar

The Critics Take on the Most Lit Guitar Learning Accessory

Learning Guitar

“I have a guitar, but I never really learned to play it…”


How many times have you heard that? Maybe you have said it.

OR you see the guy hanging out in the corner of the party, nobody sees him, but you can hear him strumming one guitar chord on 4 rusty strings, singin’ an off key Stairway to Heaven.

You certainly don’t have to be that guy, or gal (but, let’s face it, usually that party character is a dude.)

We love music. We love to rock out. And, we know you can, too. That is why we made Fret Zealot in the first place.


A lot of rockstar reviewers are talking about Fret Zealot… because it works! It is the first application that actually teaches you to play guitar by showing you what you need to do on the guitar fretboard. The free app includes a library of over 35,000 songs to play, thousands of scales, and chords to practice and jam out.

But don’t take our word for it. Techies, bloggers, rockers, and critics are giving it their own thumbs up. Check out some of these videos and reviews.

See it ALL!

Toby’s Guitar Gear offers a comprehensive review of Fret Zealot. See how to install the LED strips on your guitar, access the app on your phone, learn scales, chords, and songs. This Toby guy demonstrates all you can do in 6 minutes.


Make Use Of gives Fret Zealot a 9/10

Are you thinking about trying us out? This guy is new to guitar and gives a top to bottom, objective overview of how it works, from installation to first strum. See how easy it is to install and use as a beginning player.

Ninety percent of players….yes, 90% of players, GIVE UP playing guitar for some reason or another. We want YOU to KEEP PLAYING. Fret Zealot is designed to help you overcome some of those beginning learning hurdles so you don’t quit on the 6-string.


Video Lessons are Included?

Yes! This is a new FREE inclusion on the Fret Zealot app. Check out how to use video lessons here.

TWiT Netcast Network explores the depth of the app and how to use it on your phone, tablet or computer.

As The New Screen Savers highlighted, “You can use this on any guitar.” We do have guitar kits with Fret Zealot already installed, but you can install it on your favorite acoustic or electric, too.


Gearmandude says, “Very Cool Tool To Take Your Hands to School”

As you can see and learn from Gearmandude, you can learn at your own pace, practice, and repeat as often as you need. There are 3 different speeds to choose as you learn. Watch the fretboard and practice, memorize and repeat positions, scales, and songs. There are even stylistic scales, like blues scales, arabic scales, and more.


Music School Graduate Says Fret Zealot is Great for Visual Learning

“If you are a visual learner, this is an ideal way to learn to play…It is much more than just a beginner tool,” comments Digital Trends.

The host shows you EXACTLY how to use Fret Zealot successfully, including how “expandable” the Fret Zealot platform truly is, including advanced improve scales for learning to solo and play lead guitar.

Plus, our CEO and Founder, Shaun, shares his personal story behind why we created Fret Zealot.


There are a lot of cool things you can do with this guitar tool. Check out the shiny new inventory here. You will be shredding in no time.